SOURCE: American Medical Association

American Medical Association

November 17, 2015 13:51 ET

AMA Bolsters Efforts to Ensure Consumer Access to Health Care Amid Proposed Insurance Mergers

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - November 17, 2015) - In light of the recently proposed mergers among four of the nation's largest health insurance companies, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy aimed at strengthening its efforts to ensure consumers maintain access to quality, affordable health care in the insurance marketplace.

New policy passed during the AMA Interim Meeting calls on the federal government to examine health insurance industry consolidation in the U.S. over the last 5 to 10 years before allowing further mergers of health insurance companies.

"The AMA strongly opposes mergers that would erode competition and result in patients and employers paying higher premiums, and force physicians to accept unfair terms," said AMA Immediate Past Chair Barbara A. McAneny, M.D. "We urge the federal government to prohibit any mergers that would limit patient choice in selecting health insurance plans to meet their care needs, or impede physicians from providing their patients with the quality care they deserve."

Last week, the AMA issued a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) calling on the agency to block Aetna's proposed acquisition of Humana and Anthem's proposed acquisition of Cigna due to the negative impact such mergers could pose for patients and the physicians who care for them. Earlier this year, the AMA conducted analyses of these mergers based on data compiled annually by the AMA on competition in health insurance, peer-reviewed studies, and expert testimony from House and Senate hearings, which showed that proposed acquisitions would likely impair consumer access to, affordability of, and innovation for health insurance.

The analyses specifically found that the combined impact of the proposed mergers would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states. The mergers would also raise significant competitive concerns in additional markets. All told, the two mergers would diminish competition in up to 154 metropolitan areas within 23 states.

"The AMA will continue to advocate on behalf of consumers and physicians to protect them from health insurance premium increases, lower plan quality, and a reduction in the quantity and quality of physician services," said Dr. McAneny.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

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